SC to executive, legislative: Respond to petition vs Maharlika fund
MANILA, Philippines– The Supreme Court (SC) has asked the executive and legislative branches of government to respond to the petition seeking to declare as unconstitutional the Maharlika Investment Fund Act of 2023 under Republic Act No. 11954.
During its en banc (full court) session Tuesday, both branches were given ten days from receipt of notice to submit their comment on the petition as well as on the prayer for a temporary restraining order.
Named respondents in the petition were Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, the House of Representatives, and the Senate.
The petition was filed by Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, former congressman and Bayan Muna Chairman Neri Javier Colmenares, and former Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate and Ferdinand Gaite.
Republic Act 11954 or the law creating the Maharlika Investment Fund is the country’s first sovereign wealth fund.
It will be managed by the Maharlika Investment Corporation (MIC), which has a seed capital of P150 billion.
Petitioners cited three grounds to declare the law as unconstitutional: 1. It was passed in violation of Section 26 (2) Article VI of the Constitution requiring that it passes three readings on separate days unless an immediate enactment is needed due to calamity or emergency; 2. The test of economic viability as required by the Constitution was not complied with and 3. It violated the independence of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
The petitioners said it is a “dangerous law” because hundreds of billions in public funds will be entrusted to unknown fund managers.
Last Monday, Diokno said the MIC could be operational by the first quarter of 2024.